Making South Africa a better place

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota took issue this week with South Africans who complained about crime, saying what was needed was “partners in the battle against crime”, and not “eloquent spectators speaking from exaggerated comfort … elsewhere”.

“We must avoid the temptation to evaluate the national progress on the basis of reactions by individuals who may be traumatised by personal tragedy or those who may be seeking justification for their action or inaction,” he said.

He said that most crime victims were poor and black.

“We are interested in the citizens of this country who want to sit here and … make South Africa a better place”.

This sounds fine on paper, but the fact that citizens of South African are being murdered at the rate of 50 a day doesn’t sound like “national progress”.

To be sure, the police services catch some of those responsible for our high murder rate, but they are overstretched and often seem to have scarce resources with which to carry out their jobs.

Lekota seemed to suggest in the Star newspaper on Thursday that South Africans who had emigrated after 1994 had been motivated by racist fears rather than by crime.

“Which country does not have crime? Every country has crime and crime is not the policy of the government. Crime is an aberration that happens; as a result people have no work, people are hungry, people have no education and training and so on.”

Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, who last year advised crime “whingers” to leave the country, on Tuesday blamed violent crime on moral decay and social inequalities created by apartheid, suggesting “wealth and skills transfers” were part of the solution.

Crime was an “emotional matter”, Nqakula told MPs.

“While we must all agree that crime is a serious matter in South Africa, it is incumbent on all of us as leaders to be logical and rational in our response to the scourge.”

Try telling that to a family who has just lost one of its members to murder.

Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe’s annual inflation leapt to a record 1 593,6% in January and unemployment is said to be running at 80%. President Robert Mugabe missed out on an invitation to the French-Africa summit in Cannes, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Zimbabwe’s neighbours to use their influence to help end the “suffering”. He’ll only go when he’s ready, but by then it may be too late.

Charles Nqakula
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula this week blamed violent crime on moral decay and social inequalities created by apartheid. “While we must all agree that crime is a serious matter in South Africa, it is incumbent on all of us as leaders to be logical and rational in our response to the scourge.” Isn’t it time the government mobilised more resources to deal with what has now become a very real problem?

Most-read stories
February 8 to 14 2007

1. Google infringed copyright, Belgian court rules
Google could face daily fines of €25 000 after losing a court battle with Belgian publishers over the scope of its Google News service.

2. Tug of war over JZ’s ‘cabinet’
Jacob Zuma’s camp in KwaZulu-Natal has been hit by ructions as key backers of the ANC’s deputy president jostle for positions in any future Zuma government.

3. Mbeki, Chippy and the Greek lobbyist
Details emerging from the German corruption probe into defence and steel conglomerate ThyssenKrupp have thrown dramatic new light on two men named in the very first allegations concerning the South African arms deal.

4. ‘Obviously’ govt will deal with crime
The happiness that comes with freedom applies equally to the challenge of dealing with crime, President Thabo Mbeki said in his State of the Nation address during the opening of Parliament in a rainy Cape Town on Friday.

5. Mugabe’s endgame
President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has been rocked by a controversial plan to extend his rule by two years, and analysts said despite resistance by some of his lieutenants, the veteran leader will eventually bulldoze the proposals through.

6. Stewardess, actor allegedly joined mile-high club
Australia’s Qantas Airways has grounded a flight attendant after fellow crew members alleged she had sex with British actor Ralph Fiennes aboard a flight to India, news reports said on Sunday.

7. SA looks to lure expatriates home
South Africa plans new measures to lure its overseas academics and skilled workers back home as the country seeks to tackle a skills gap that threatens economic development, a government minister said on Tuesday.

8. Mbeki candid, but ‘to-do list’ worries
While President Thabo Mbeki was “refreshingly candid” about some issues in his State of the Nation address to Parliament on Friday, he disappointed on others, Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon said.

9. Cellphone music service aims to steal iPhone thunder
An alliance of all major music publishers and 23 cellphone operators said on Monday they would launch a music service to 690-million phone subscribers, stealing the thunder of Apple’s iPhone.

10. Zim army tired of soldiering on
Mass desertions in the army are creating anxiety in the country’s Joint Operations Command, which implored its Chairperson, President Robert Mugabe, late last year, to improve the living conditions of the defence forces.

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